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By Baroness Smith of Llanfaes
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All The Legislation Included In The King's Speech

King Charles delivered the speech in the House of Lords (Alamy)

6 min read

Measures ranging from criminal justice and rental reform to economic and health protections have been announced by King Charles III, who delivered his first King’s Speech to mark the State Opening of Parliament.

Speaking on Tuesday, the King echoed the government’s message of seeking “long-term decisions” for the future.

“My ministers will put the security of communities and the nation ahead of the rights of those who endanger it,” he said. 

“By taking these long-term decisions, my government will change this country and build a better future.”

This speech is the first King's Speech in 70 years, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II last year, and is likely to be the last before the next general election, marking the last opportunity to announce new bills to be introduced in this parliamentary session.

A total of 21 bills were announced, with parliamentarians given the opportunity to debate the announcements throughout the rest of the week. Six of those were pieces of legislation that are already making their way through parliament, and will be carried forward to the next session. 

Here is everything you need to know about what was in the King’s Speech: 

Criminal justice

crime
Police will be given more powers to tackle digital crime (Alamy)

Criminal justice is one of the most prominent themes among the new bills to be introduced, including the Sentencing Bill, Criminal Justice Bill, and Victim and Prisoners Bill.

The Sentencing Bill will mandate courts to impose longer sentences for dangerous criminals, with rapists and those convicted of the most serious sexual offences having to serve every day of their custodial sentence. The bill will also reduce the number of short sentences being served in favour of suspended sentences and community sentences, citing “persuasive evidence” that these would be more effective than short custodial sentences in reducing reoffending. 

The Criminal Justice Bill will introduce a raft of measures including compelling defendants to attend their sentencing hearing – following calls for such a move after child serial-killer Lucy Letby did not attend her hearing earlier this year – putting a duty on organisations to report child sexual abuse concerns, criminalising the sharing of intimate images, expanding drug testing on arrest, and giving the police greater powers and data access to tackle crime. 

Powers will also be established to transfer British prisoners to overseas prisons, as a way to deal with overcrowding and lack of cells in UK prisons. 

Housing reform

HOUSING
Reforms to protect renters will be introduced (Alamy)

Two bills will be introduced to reform the housing markets, including the Leasehold and Freehold Bill and the Renters' (Reform) Bill.

The Renters' (Reform) Bill is already progressing through parliament. It aims to create greater protections for renters by abolishing ‘no fault evictions’ – a 2019 Conservative Party manifesto commitment. It will also introduce greater powers for landlords to evict anti-social tenants, and includes a commitment to ending blanket bans on pets imposed by landlords. 

The Leasehold and Freehold Bill will make it cheaper for leaseholders to extend their lease or buy their leasehold as well as strengthening a number of leaseholders rights. 

Economic protections

oil rig
The government supports licensing to extract oil from the North Sea (Alamy)

Many of the bills to be introduced aim to achieve one of the Prime Minister’s five new year pledges: to grow the economy. 

The Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill sets out the government’s backing of licensing for further North Sea oil and gas extraction, with the King saying this will be “helping the country to transition to net zero by 2050 without adding undue burdens on households”.

The Trade (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) Bill will confirm the UK’s membership of a trading pact of growing economies across the world. 

The Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill and Data protection and Digital Information Bill will “modernise regulation” encouraging innovation in the UK, while the Media Bill will put in legislation to support creative industries and public interest journalism by reducing legal and regulatory burdens on press outlets.

Cutting down smoking and vaping

NO Smoking
The legal age for buying cigarettes will be raised each year (Alamy)

The government will introduce the Tobacco and Vapes Bill to “create the first smoke-free generation”. The bill will legislate to raise the age of the sale of cigarettes by one year each year for anyone 14 this year and younger. New regulations will also be introduced to tackle vaping among young people, such as regulating flavours and packaging of e-cigarettes to ensure they are not being marketed to children. 

Sport regulation

An Independent Football Regulator will be introduced via the Football Governance Bill, which will operate a licensing system and have powers to monitor and enforce clubs’ compliance with financial regulation, club ownership and fan engagement. 

The bill will introduce a minimum standard that clubs must meet with their fan engagement, and will put a duty on clubs to produce annual reports on their corporate governance. 

National safety and security

MANCHESTER arena attack vigil
New anti-terrorism legislation follows the 2016 Manchester arena attack (Alamy)

Some of the new bills introduced will seek to protect national security. The Investigatory Powers Bill will grant powers to security and intelligence agencies to enable them to keep up with technological changes when responding to terrorism threats. 

The Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill will mandate who is responsible for considering the risk of terrorism and how to respond to it across premises in the UK. Some venues will have to take “necessary and proportionate steps” to mitigate the impact of such threats. 

Transport

The Automated Vehicles Bill, Pedicabs (London) Bill, and the Draft Rail Reform Bill will all be new bills introduced relating to transport, with the Automated Vehicles Bill introducing new legal frameworks to support the emergence of the self-driving vehicle industry. 

The Pedicabs (London) Bill will enable Transport for London (TfL) to licence pedicabs in the capital in order to “deal with the scourge” of the vehicles in London.

Animal welfare

SHEEP
Live exports for slaughter and fattening will be banned (Alamy)

Among the bills to be introduced includes the Animal Welfare (Livestock Exports) Bill, which will ban the export of cattle, sheep, goats and horses for slaughter, ensuring animals would be slaughtered domestically rather than abroad. 

Holocaust memorial

The speech also laid out how the government is “committed to tackling antisemitism and ensuring that the Holocaust is never forgotten”, introducing a bill to authorise the building of a Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre near Parliament.

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